Monday, 29 April 2013

Hardware Review: Pogo Sketch Pro

I'm always on the hunt for new styli for the iPad. For every winning stylus I tried out, there were three or four that faired better as ear picks than helpful art tools. Artists have multiple tools in their arsenal that rightfully earn their place, I too use multiple styli based on different purpose. Currently I've narrowed it down to two, the Adonit Jot Touch+ and the Pogo Sketch Pro.
Price: $25
Includes: Pogo Sketch Pro, Two heads, Carrying Case
Company: TenOneDesign
TenOneDesigns line of Apple products was my initial product test, starting off with the original Pogo Sketch which was two inches shorter and used a hard sponge. At the time it was a winner in my book with the tip that seemed to connect with the screen at every angle. On top of that it was quite thin which made it feel incredibly precise. I found it to be too short and the tips kept wearing out which forced me to buy them continuously. Thankfully they were some of the cheaper styli on the market.
After time, the Pogo Sketch line evolved to have several iterations, one of which we'll be putting to the test today. Compared to its predecessor, the Pro is longer and feels more like an artists instrument more than a stylus which is a definite plus in its favor. They didn't throw the Pro in there for nothing. It's lightweight, thin but doesn't feel cheap. You can throw this in the bag with your iPad and it won't scratch it up either which is an additional benefit for artists on the go. It comes with a carrying case as well but it seems a little pointless or tedious to use.
Since the Pogo Sketch+ is part of my repertoire that must mean it's an absolute buy, right? Well, yes and no. The new tip is why I absolutely love it and hate it to all hell. Doing away with the sponge makes it glide on the screen naturally and feels wonderful. It has the same range of the old version but you don't have to press so hard and is even thinner. It's not as precise as the Adonit Jot Touch but is quicker to be detected by the screen which makes it better for coloring rather than lineart. When I first used the Sketch Pro was a dream that destroyed an invisible frustration I occasionally have with painting with the Adonit.
The honeymoon was quickly over however. The reason I hate this stylus so much is one problem, the head doesn't last for an extremely long time. It's made of a soft plastic with several holes to make the tip flatten to the screen from many angles. After one weekend, it started to tear once. Then twice. Then two more times. Performance suffered and I had to switch to the replaceable head (it screws off which is easy and sturdy.) This time, I tried to go a little easier on it, tried not to be so rough and be gentle, a minor set back, right?
Same thing happened but it lasted a little bit longer. So now I have to buy constant replaceable heads ($9 for a pair) to keep it going. It's an unfortunate and quite frankly glaring flaw with an otherwise perfect stylus. It reminds me of those pay to play games on the iPad where they are free but you have to use real world currency to get further.
As I said, I LOVE this stylus but wish it was a little more durable. Perhaps I'll have to look into Pogo Connect to see if their top of the line can fill the void.

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